These gingerbread and eggnog whoopie pies are like a holiday party explosion of flavor. The cookies are soft and chewy and gingery, the frosting is rich and sweet, and the whole thing together will make you realize that winter is magical and that the pile of snow in the driveway waiting to be shoveled is festive and beautiful.
It snowed all day yesterday, and since I don’t work on Mondays, I got to look at it falling while I was snug and warm inside, feasting on one of these whoopie pies. I got so into the winter spirit of it all that I even voluntarily shoveled the driveway (with the help of my youngest, looking as adorable as only a toddler in a snowsuit can). I think these whoopie pies might be magic.
I adapted this recipe from one I found on The New York Times Cooking site, and that recipe was adapted from one from Zingerman’s. I knew I was in good hands. The original called for a chocolate cookies and a Swiss buttercream frosting, but I wanted to change it up for the season and make a frosting that takes a little less work. A few tweaks to the ingredient ratios and a healthy dose of spices and molasses later, and I had the perfect giant gingerbread cookie. I typically don’t like gingerbread; it’s usually just too dark and bitter for my taste. But this has just a hint of molasses, so the ginger and other spices have a chance to shine without overpowering the cookie. The frosting is a pretty standard American buttercream, with butter, powdered sugar, hints of vanilla and nutmeg, and a giant splash of eggnog thrown in. And together both recipes take maybe twenty minutes to prep. What are you waiting for?!
To make the cookies (and I’m using that term loosely since they’re the size of tea saucers), cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and stir half of them into the batter, add all of the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Stir until everything is just combined. Use an ice cream scoop if you have one or a quarter cup measure if you don’t to measure and scoop the cookies onto two cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. I fit six cookies on each sheet, since these will spread in the oven. Bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes, or until the centers are set and spring back when lightly touched.
While the cookies bake, make the buttercream. Cream the butter in a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes, until it’s really soft and light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one half cup at a time, increasing the speed from low to medium with each addition. You’ll use somewhere between 3 and 3 ½ cups of powdered sugar; stop when you reach your desired consistency. Add the eggnog, vanilla, and nutmeg, and mix to combine.
Once the cookies are cool, use the ice cream scoop to place a quarter cup of frosting on half of the cookies. Add another cookie on top and sandwich them until the frosting spreads out to the edges of the cookies.
These babies are enormous, so you might want to cut them in half to serve. Or don’t, because it’s the holidays and I think we can all be a little bit extra.
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 3 - 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup eggnog
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix again, followed by the vanilla extract and molasses.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, followed by the the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix only until all the ingredients are combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop or a quarter cup measure to place six large balls of dough on each baking sheet. Bake until the centers of the cookies are firm and spring back to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Let them cool for five minutes on the sheets, then transfer to cooling racks.
- While the cookies bake, make the eggnog frosting. Clean out your stand mixer and add the two sticks of butter. Cream for 3-4 minutes, until very light. Add the powdered sugar one half cup at a time, increasing the mixer speed from low to medium each time. Add the eggnog, vanilla, and nutmeg and mix until thick but spreadable.
- Once the cookies have cooled, place an ice cream scoop (or quarter cup) of frosting on one cookie and gently press down another cookie on top, until the frosting has spread out to the edges. Repeat with the remaining cookies and frosting.